Was Henry Ramos Allup’s first day at his new office a success?

Yesterday we saw a man who went from hate-figure to pop-star in a matter of weeks, taking the presidency of the National Assembly for the opposition for the first time in 17 years. But we also saw a somewhat tentative leader whose political rivals walk out on without fear of retribution. What do we take from that?

In a way, #5E was a total success for Henry: he won his spot as Assembly president unopposed; he got to shush the hell out of Pedro Carreño, he got to give his own heartfelt speech, and to do it in company of kin, since chavistas stormed out over technicalities. Oh, how the tables have turned!

But you could also argue that this last point turned Ramos’ first day as Speaker into a failure. Chavismo lasted a mere 42 minutes before kicking the proverbial table and leaving the hemiciclo, mad, baffled and unwilling to play along. Worse, it was just 163 deputies who were sworn in, not all 167 as MUD had vowed.

And it’s this point that matters the most. We’d said that Henry would be the one to keep his cool and deal with the tough task of taming the hooligans.

He was cool alright, but the hooligans are not easy to talk down. In fact, the reason the New Minority stood up and left was, according to them, because of Ramos Allup’s way of proceeding, nothing else.

He didn’t leave the National Assembly unsacthed, as even fellow MUDistas complained about his closing speech. So (whoops, wrong guy.) I find it hard to see this day as a win of any kind for him.

Think about it. Only one of the objectives was fulfilled, and it was the most basic of them all: not getting beaten up and being able to get the new National Assembly sworn in with him at the helm. The rest is nothing other than a maybe at this point.

Can the other four deputies be sworn in? Who’s to say?

Can we sit chavismo still and get them to play ball? Again, who the hell is to say?

Can this apparent decorum -aka, not beating each other into a pulp- persist? No one knows.

It all boils down to what was really worth expecting from today. To expect a total humiliation of chavismo on day one is insane, and not even your most cafetalera of grandmums would’ve thought it plausible.

But that’s not what we wanted. We wanted a win, not a win by forfeit. We wanted 167 deputies sworn in, chavismo sit put and understand that things have changed. Did they change? Partially.

The press is back and doing what it does best, and today they had their win. The sight of an oddly uncomfortable Diosdado and a pissed-off Cilia Flores was a gift from them, not Henry.

Today we saw a good movie, but that was in spite of its star. There were no dazzling performances, just a juicy story. If anyone deserves applauses it’s Americo de Grazia, nobody else.

Other than a couple zingers, we didn’t get what we were hoping for from Henry. He was, in a way, more useful as a foil to chavismo than as a champion to us.

Had it been a win, Cilia Flores wouldn’t be waving a rather large truth in our faces: they got the TSJ’s sentence to stick, and they got it on day one. Then they left, to be received by their followers in a scene that, had it been us starring, we’d have hailed as magnificent.

This wasn’t Ramos Allup’s finest hour. It was cathartic as hell to watch him own chavistas here and there, indeed, but not fine. It was entertaining with a dash of fantasy-fulfillment, but all that did was mask the truth that the first round, as the First Combatant so finely put it, was not his best.

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  1. A little commentary: When Ismael García says the speech was boring, he’s talking, it seems to me, about deputy Agüero, who was the debate’s director. Ramos is the Assembly’s president.

    • Right, sorry. Tweet came out just as Ramos Allup finished speaking, connected wrong dots. Thanks for pointing it out!

  2. The tweet you linked to doesn`t refer to Ramos’s speech, but to the rambling speech of the first director of the debate.

  3. Just to point out that in his tweet Ismael Garcia seems to be referring to the debate coordinator Héctor “grandpa” Agüero’s farewell speech, not Ramos Allup’s.

  4. Ummm….curious. .what has actually changed?..who would actually enforce and or give legitimacy to them?.
    Chavistas control all security. .institutions. .you name it…the TSJ can simply stare at them and their arguments. ..and without pause or legalize. .dismiss them….and I think it will be awful hard to remove anyone on the judiciary. .regardless of the constitutional legality…..
    I think there is going to be a huge hangover for the MUD…

    • But I am unsure that Chavistas have the military backing. With all the threats of violence put forward in the past few weeks it came down to an uneventful takeover of the AN. Then the next best thing they could do was huff and puff as first class hypocrites to the press about petty rules.

      I am not sure Chavismo has it all hemmed in here either. In fact the next few days are going to be telling. I hope my patience and that of the rest of Venezuela lasts that long.

    • Did you see Diosdado talking to the press? Did you hear the questions they asked him? All of a sudden nobody’s affraid of asking him his thoughts and begging for him to go all Mazo Dando on them…which he did! And it was as amazing as it was awkward for him.

      Don’t think tangibles so much, of course they have the State in their hands but today something definitiely changed. It’s ok to point fingers and to call them “minority” as the reporter so cunningly did.

  5. Hi Carlos.

    I see your point, but MUD only sworn 163 today because of a technical issue, and stablish AN, of 163 can then reconignse the other 4 (3 really).

    Today wqs a win maybe not the win some have in their mind but a big win, if you were with me and my friends watching it on tv must likely feel that way.

  6. Greetings Mr. Chain.

    There is one point to be addressed here: HRA did what he had to do. The official faction or “patriotic block” were acting as a bunch of uneducated monkeys from the begining of the session. Insults and despective words were the main contents of the PSUV members.
    Today the job was done. The dictator’s puppets have been unmasked and the entire nation saw them for what they truly are: a bunch of unrespectful bullies who cry and leave when the tip of the balance is not in their favor.
    Instead of facing defeat with dignity and somehow, surrender their inner stupidity to reason, they decided to stand and fight. And they let with their hands empty as their “quarry” did not want a fight, but conversation, union and a promise of healing.

    Rabid dogs cannot be taugh tricks, they must be put down, and that is what is going to happen when the investigations begin on each and every dirty ass that seats in the PSUV side.

    • Mr. Hevia,

      First of all, thanks for reading this and commenting.

      Secondly, I know he did what was necessary. But that’s what anybody else would have also done. The reason people that despise him were willing to hand him over control of the National Assembly was the idea that, maybe, Ramos Allup would be able to cope better with bullish cry babies and no engage at all.

      Thirdly, and another undertone to all of this, he behaved like said bullies a bit. He breached protocol, he gave a speech when not necessary, he was being what those who indeed voted against him feared he’d do: abusar un pelo.

      • “Thirdly, and another undertone to all of this, he behaved like said bullies a bit. He breached protocol, he gave a speech when not necessary, he was being what those who indeed voted against him feared he’d do: abusar un pelo.”


        • HRA presiding the AN, so far, has been nothing but a Tarantino movie: Revenge Porn at it`s finest, Brad Pitt carving swastikas in nazi forheads, Eli Roth gunning down Hitler.

          It satisfies our lowest desires after decades of being humiliated, but at the end of the day, I am not sure he will get the results and the national consensus we need to get to turn the page and start a new chapter.

          Even though I loved his performance, I`m still not sure he`s the man we need, but damn sure he`s the one we deserve, for better or worse.

          My biggest worry is when the time to investigate corruption cases come, specifically Derwick. What will he do?

  7. I don’t know. He got to welcome non-state press back into a MUD-dominated AN, show that the opposition are the grown-ups in the room, and pound the pulpit r.e. democratic values. Given concerns r.e. potential rioting, violence/intimidation, whether MUD would even be able to enter the building, etc…on balance it seems like a pretty fair day to me.

    HRA did have at least one signature moment: “Diputado, estese tranquilo, aquí cambiaron las cosas.”

    Maybe it wasn’t perfect, but…non-chavista AN for the 1st time in 17 years? Impartial media in the house? PSUV clowns stomping out in a huff? Dude, jump up and down a little!

    • oh believe me, the up and down jumping did take place, as well as a series of “beeeeeee que bolas! umiyaoooo”. But this is about Henry right now. It felt a bit… off. Like if Barcelona won a title and Messi played a shitty game. Thats what this whole post is about: the ring bearer, the money purse holding leader of the pack.

      • Bueno…maybe the role will take some getting used to. Being the majority!! Wow. HRA will find his groove.

        I am just so happy right now. Seeing Lilian Tintori in the house, MCM, Capriles…the PRESS! It does feel like good things are ahead…

  8. I am pleased. For the firat time in a long long time, Chavismo was humiliated. This was a knock out in the first 10 seconds. Every minute that the chavismo faction stayed in the hemiciclo was a moment of awkwardness, humiliation, and weakness. This is why they had to leave. HRA and MUD could not have done it better.

    • Agreed 100%. No nitpicking of the MUD’s/HRA’s performance is valid, in my opinion. This session was just to seat deputies, not to confront ideas/issues, as the PSUV monkies tried to do (the Amazonas questioned deputies will be taken up tomorrow). If Cilia’s reception by followers in an extremely tight TV shot that wouldn’t open up to reveal the relatively handful of paid/bussed-in supporters was “magnificent”, then I’d hate to see what a poor reception looks like.

  9. The chavistas were going to leave after throwing a hissy fit no matter what the oppo did, and the new deputies are going to be sworn tomorrow.

    Relax a little, and enjoy the new memes.

  10. The biggest victory was that the press were free to capture a gang of blustery buffoons, full of vapid revolutionary rhetoric and not a single hint that they were interested in addressing the nation’s dire problems not to mention tangible ideas per how to start the recovery. The posturing, the thuggish body language, the fat guy jiggling around up by the podium – the Chavistas looked out of place and homeless, barbaric, plain dumb and pitiful. And the entire thing played live for all the world to see. If the Chavistas ever had any credibility, it’s shot to hell now. Just keep the cameras rolling. And HRA was masterful for one crucial reason – he never lost his cool and dealt with the Reds on his own terms, ignoring them when appropriate. This fried their circuits – and they left. Good riddance.

  11. Dear Daniel, I kinda agree with you, I would’ve liked an epic moment, but then again, I think for a while and find it difficult to come up with the reason I wasn’t completely satisfied. What were we expecting anyway? What could have they done differently taking into account the undemocratic nature of the “patriotic block”?
    I’d like to think we could’ve done better, but can’t think how. Hope some of you will enlighten me…

  12. Geez man, come on!

    The MUD spent a FEW hours in the AN and already we’re bemoaning we didn’t score 14 goals and run away with the trophy held high?

    Whaddaya want, HRA to turn into Gandalf and slay all the orcs with one spell?

    I thought today’s session had all the ingredients

    Un borrachito, a few “tatequietos”, more evidence of how sore losers the PSUV nimrods are and the press back in the AN.

    HRA let everyone know there’s work to be done, said the right things in terms of how different things will be and told everyone to be back by 10 am tomorrow.

    Let’s have this conversation in a month or two, meanwhile, we got our own work cut out for us!

  13. Everybody knew the chaburros were going to flee the moment they realized they couldn’t shut the democrats up nor stop getting mundially embarrassed for bashing Pastrana.

    Also, watch the Kingpin getting furious over being called “minority” was therapeutic as fuck xDDD

  14. I think two different strategies are very clear inside MUD, one to try to have a new governmen this year ( 2016 ) through constitutional ways ( AD, VP ) and the other is just wait, go for the next electoral process ( governors in October – December 2016 ) , legislate and not to have a direct fight….

    HRA is pushing the first one

  15. Today was a formality, a glorious one at that. HRA is barely starting the long game, choosing his battles carefully, if I were in his shoes this morning I’d probably be humbled and a little nervous by all these events. Give him a break! What did you expect? Diosdado prostrated, on his knees, begging for mercy? There was nothing to be “won” today. Aquí hay pa rato, póngase cómodo.

  16. FIRST, you show the bully his way doesn’t work anymore. THEN bullies are given a little sugar, when they come decently. It’s basic animal training.

    Also, we can be as arrechos as we want, but we already knew that getting those other four sworn in was a very hard one, you can’t just disregard the TSJ.

    Maybe one thing you don’t quite understand is that the new era negotiations will not really happen on the AN floor until it’s purely ceremonial.

    Así es Allup, no joda!

    I’m proud of us.

  17. I think Henry was awesome. He is very deeply attached to the institution of the legislative in Venezuela, having been in our assembly in the 4th republic for 26 years. He has a deep respect for the amazing power that it is to make actual laws that 30 million people will then (in theory) follow.

    The whole framing of the article feels a bit off, because today was NOT about HRA (and HRA said as much himself), it was about real change. And indeed the country has changed, now the chavistas look hilariously foolish, instead of menacing-gangsterish-foolish. They ARE the minority. We know it, they know it; it will just take them some time to get used to it.

  18. This is just Day 1 and he’s already getting the chavistas in check. No one is afraid of them anymore.

    I am 100% convinced HRA was the right choice between Borges and him.

    It’s been fascinating watching how he controls the rhyme of the game and everyone from both sides falling in line.

  19. Whaddaya want, HRA to turn into Gandalf and slay all the orcs with one spell?

    Even Gandalf couldn’t do that. When he was trapped in a burning tree surrounded by orcs (in The Hobbit), and was about to leap down “like a thunderbolt”, the narrator said “that would have been the end of him…” Fortunately, the Lord of the Eagles swooped down and carried him away.

  20. The chavista block went to the session to play act their usual revolutionary rages and conceits (before the TV cameras) and to sabotage as much as possibe the inaugural session where their defeat was humiliantingly laid bare . This was evident all along , They wanted to have as many opportunities to scenifiy their phony rethorical rages before the cameras and HRA very coolly professionally and expediently denied them that chance , thats what had them incensed and thats why they threatrically left the session . It was evident that they had no candidates to offer as alternatives to those which the MUD had proposed for the posts of secretary and undersecretary and yet when HRA put them against the wall of proposing some in order to continue talking ( the voting session was underwy and unless they had a candidate they had to shut up) they said they had some to propose which then they failed to name (to their very public embarrasement) .HRA railroaded the process to get on with the appointments not allowing the chance for more firework speeches on their part so they tried sabotaging the sessions with silly demonstations and demands they would have ignored if they were seating in HRA chair. !! Their behaviour was to be expected but they got little mileage from it .

    In my view the main object of the MUD was accomplished very efficiently , they got the new Assembly constituted and going , they wisely left the issue of the 3 contested deputies to be dealt with later , they showed the public they meant business and very eloquently advertised the general agenda they would be following , they gave a fresh impression of openess by allowing the press in , they didnt allow the Chavista block much opportunity to transform the session into an unending stream of bombastic speeches . I feel that HRA conducted himself very well , using his authority with firmness and non nonsense efficiency , His speech was by far the best in the session , balanced yet resolute , Liked him saying to insecure maduro that when he came 15 days from now he would be treated with respect which was proper..

    To expect all pending issues and problems to be dealt with and resolved at the first session was not only naive but dangerous , we have just begun a very difficult game with many variables and perils and have to go about addressing them with great care and caution .

    Two things struck me as curious , one that despite DDC having been the boss of the past assembly he now takes a subordinate almost invisible place among the Chavistas deputies , while a new guy is made the Psuv whip and leader , Second that in the really important moments of the session even the new leader ( chosen to underscore their love of youth and dark skinned people) was largely left behind and replaced in practice by a more veteran deputy …….who knew the ropes much better than the officially appointed leader….

    Lots of other comments but this is already too long ….

  21. BB, very well-said/summarized. HRA is no William Jennings Bryan, but he is a good Operator, which is what the MUD needs at this juncture.

  22. He did a really great job.


    I had to wait for the replay.

    The guy is an exceptionally good orator. He’s aware that a great speech must assume that some of the audience is at least partially inattentive.I just barely listened to it, but I got all the points he made. Very clearly. 1) restore the AN as a POWER (not an echo chamber to the Presidency), and do the same for the TSJ for without the judicial independence, government practically cannot function, 2) amnesty and freedom for ALL political prisoners, 3) within the time of six months, bring an orderly, constitutional, democratic end to the existing government. The bookends were, at the beginning, his dedication to politics, and at the end, five years from no, the AN walking away proud of what they accomplished to restore Venezuela to a country where its youth can find their futures. The underlying truth of it was, as he put it, that things work better in friendship, and that he is but one of 112 delegates.

    And if someone fails to see the “bombshells” in that speech, or fails to see the power of democracy and the principles and values of careful reasoning, planning, and work, that’s their fault – and it is a fault.


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